Mayor Blangiardi looking to allow large events later this month

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi says he’s asking the governor to suspend the ban of large gatherings within a couple of weeks. That could eventually allow regular fans at University of Hawaii (UH) football games and having thousands of runners participate in the Honolulu Marathon.

The mayor says he’s met with Gov. David Ige the last couple of days and laid out an aggressive proposal to drop restrictions. Blangiardi banned large gatherings in August with a 28-day order that has been extended twice and is scheduled to end on Oct. 19.

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“I can tell you right now, it’s our anticipation that come October 19, when the second 28-day ends, if these trends continue, we will suspend the banning of large gatherings. We’ll get back in the business of normalcy,” said Blangiardi.

The mayor says he has also worked with UH to allow about a thousand of the football team’s friends and family to go to the next home game against New Mexico State on Oct. 23. If the governor approves, UH can sell tickets to the two other home games at Ching Stadium in November. He’s also hopeful that the Honolulu Marathon will happen in-person on Dec. 12.

“I actually think the Honolulu Marathon, if we’re able to say yes to that, which, I fully intend and hope that we can, if we say yes to that, it will be a major signal to our community that we’re back. That’s what’s going to trigger it,” said Blangiardi.

“We’re ready to go, we’re excited, and once we get the word, we’re gonna promise the community that we’re going to put on a great event and a safe event for everybody,” said Dr. Jim Barahal, Honolulu Marathon President and CEO.

He says he’s excited that the event can actually happen this year. He expects 7,000 to 12,000 people to participate.

“It’s not gonna have as many people from other places. It’s not gonna have that many people from Japan. It’s going to be primarily a local event, but we’re ready to go, we got the plan, we got the team, and we want to lead the way for the community,” said Barahal.

Those in the special events and wedding industries are hopeful that the governor will approve the mayor’s proposals. They’re holding a rally on Thursday to send the message that they can hold events safely.

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“Not knowing exactly what the governor’s final reaction and decision to that, we think it’s more important than ever to continue pushing the message in front as many people as possible,” said Heather Bailey with the Hawaii Events Coalition.

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